A woman once told me, “I won’t be happy in heaven unless my dog is there with me.”
Now, I understand people get attached to their pets, but I admit I was more than a little shocked. “You mean,” I asked, “that God is not enough for you? It has to be God plus your dog?”
She backpedaled a bit. “Well . . . of course God is enough for me. But all the same, I won’t be happy there without my dog.”
I guess she figured that if she isn’t capable of happiness without the dog, God will provide it for her.
I see comments like this about heaven a lot. How (I sometimes see on a discussion forum) can people be happy in heaven if they know their loved ones are suffering eternal torment in hell? Either they wouldn’t care about those persons anymore—which doesn’t seem very loving for a saint—or they will be in despair from the knowledge that loved ones are suffering—which makes heaven a place of misery instead of bliss. How can all tears be wiped away if we’re perpetually crying about the damned?
The more I think about it, questions such as these want to hold God hostage to our own attachments and desires. One saint (sorry, I can’t remember who) said everything is worthless unless it 1) brings us closer to God or 2) is necessary for life.
And when I look at life that way, I realize I’m attached to a lot of junk. For example, I’m devastated when someone thinks the worst of me. I am, in other words, far too attached to another’s approval. Maybe it comes from being bullied all those years when I was a kid. But others’ evaluation of me doesn’t bring me closer to God, nor is it necessary for life.
It is, therefore, something I have to let go of.
I’ve got a feeling this is not going to be easy.